Harrods bombing Part of The Troubles Location Hans Crescent,
Date 17 December 1983
Target Harrods department store Attack type Car bomb Death(s) 6
(3 police officers, 3 civilians)
Injured 90 Perpetrator members of the Provisional IRA
The Harrods bombing was a car bombing that occurred at Harrods department store in London on 17 December 1983. The bomb had been planted by members of the Provisional IRA, although the IRA Army Council claimed that it had not authorised the attack. The IRA members had sent a warning 37 minutes beforehand, but the area was not evacuated. Six people were killed – three police officers and three civilians.
The same store was the target of a much smaller IRA bomb in January 1993.
The bomb contained between 25 and 30 lb (14 kg) of explosives and was left in a 1972 blue Austin 1300 GT four door saloon with a black vinyl roof, registration KFP 252K. It was parked outside the side entrance of Harrods, on Hans Crescent, and set to be detonated by a timer.
At 12:44, a man using an IRA codeword phoned the central London branch of the Samaritans. The caller said there were bombs inside and outside Harrods, specifying the registration number of the car, but not its make or colour. At about 13:21, four police officers in a car, a dog handler, and an officer on foot approached the car when the bomb went off. The police car absorbed much of the blast, probably reducing other casualties. Six people were killed; three passers-by (including one citizen of the United States), and three Metropolitan Police officers.
Those killed were: Philip Geddes (journalist, 24); Kenneth Salvesen (28); Jasmine Cochrane-Patrick (25); Police Sergeant Noel Lane (28); and Police Constable Jane Arbuthnot (22). Police Inspector Stephen Dodd (34) was fatally injured and died on 24 December. The dog handler, Police Constable Jon Gordon survived, but lost both legs and part of a hand in the blast. His police dog, Queenie, was also killed.
At the time of the first explosion, a second warning call was made by the IRA. The caller stated that a bomb had been left in the C&A department store on the east side of Oxford Street. Police cleared the area and cordoned it off but this claim was found to be false.
IRA statement and response
In a statement, the IRA Army Council admitted that its members had planted the bomb, but claimed that it had not authorised the attack:
The Harrods operation was not authorised by the Irish Republican Army. We have taken immediate steps to ensure that there will be no repetition of this type of operation again. The volunteers involved gave a 40 minutes specific warning, which should have been adequate. But due to the inefficiency or failure of the Metropolitan Police, who boasted of foreknowledge of IRA activity, this warning did not result in an evacuation. We regret the civilian casualties, even though our expression of sympathy will be dismissed.
There is now a memorial at the site of the blast. Yearly prizes in the honour of Philip Geddes are awarded to aspiring journalists attending Oxford University. Also, every year the Philip Geddes Memorial Lecture on the theme of the future of journalism is given by a leading journalist.
On 28 January 1993, Harrods was once again targeted by the IRA: this time a package containing 1 lb of Semtex plastic explosive placed in a litter bin at the front of the store in Brompton Road. Four people were injured. The bomb smashed windows but did no internal damage. Those responsible were Patrick Taylor, a 51-year-old former corporal of the British Army and a member of Red Action and Jan Hayes, a 41-year-old computer programmer with a degree in business studies from Central London Polytechnic. In March 1993, police captured them at Hayes' home in Stoke Newington, north London. They received prison sentences of 30 years.
- ^ a b c d e f g Bomb unauthorised says IRA The Guardian 19 December 1983
- ^ a b Sutton Index of Deaths CAIN Web Service (Conflict Archive on the Internet)
- ^ Northern Ireland: Thatcher letter to Reagan (outrage at Harrods IRA bomb) Margaret Thatcher Foundation website
- ^ On this Day BBC Report BBC website
- ^ Police City Themes London
- ^ Prize money for students rises to £2,500 Holdthefrontpage
- ^ PHILIP GEDDES MEMORIAL PRIZES 2005 Oxford University Gazette
- ^ Bennett, Will (1993-01-29). "Four hurt by IRA bomb outside Harrods - UK, News". London: The Independent. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/four-hurt-by-ira-bomb-outside-harrods-1481378.html. Retrieved 2010-02-19.
- ^ a b Geraghty, The Irish War: the hidden conflict between the IRA and British Intelligence, 163.
- ^ Mickolus, Terrorism, 1992-1995: a chronology of events and a selectively annotated bibliography, 282.
- ^ "'Proud' IRA bombers jailed for 30 years: Police remain mystified why two Englishmen, who had no apparent connections with Ireland, became terrorists". London: The Independent. 14 May 1994. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/proud-ira-bombers-jailed-for-30-years-police-remain-mystified-why-two-englishmen-who-had-no-apparent-connections-with-ireland-became-terrorists-stephen-ward-reports-1435755.html. Retrieved 17 December 2010.
- Mickolus, Edward (1997). Terrorism, 1992-1995: a chronology of events and a selectively annotated bibliography. Greenwood Press. ISBN 0313304688.
- Geraghty, Tony (2000). The Irish War: the hidden conflict between the IRA and British Intelligence. JHU Press. ISBN 0801864569.
The Troubles Participants in the Troubles Chronology Political Parties Republican
Security forces of the
• Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association formed (1967)
• Battle of the Bogside (1969)
• Riots across Northern Ireland (1969)
• Beginning of Operation Banner (1969)
• Social Democratic and Labour Party formed (1970)
• Internment without trial begins with Operation Demetrius (1971)
• Bloody Sunday by British Army (1972)
• Northern Ireland government dissolved. Direct rule from London begins (1972)
• Bloody Friday by Provisional IRA (1972)
• Power sharing Northern Ireland Assembly set up with SDLP and Ulster Unionist Party in power (1973)
• Mountjoy Prison helicopter escape. Three Provisional IRA prisoners escape from Mountjoy Prison by helicopter (1973)
• Ulster Workers' Council strike causes power-sharing Northern Ireland Assembly to end (1974)
• Dublin and Monaghan bombings by UVF with alleged British Army assistance (1974)
• Kingsmill massacre by South Armagh Republican Action Force (1976)
• Warrenpoint Ambush by Provisional IRA (1979)
• 1981 Irish hunger strike by Provisional IRA and INLA members (1981)
• Hunger striker Bobby Sands elected MP. Marks turning point as Sinn Féin begins to move towards electoral politics (1981)
• Maze Prison escape. 38 Provisional IRA prisoners escape from H-Block 7 of HM Prison Maze (1983)
• Brighton hotel bombing by Provisional IRA (1984)
• Anglo-Irish Agreement between British and Irish governments (1985)
• Remembrance Day bombing by Provisional IRA (1987)
• Peace Process begins (1988)
• Operation Flavius, Milltown Cemetery attack and Corporals killings (1988)
• Bishopsgate bombing (1993)
• Downing Street Declaration (1993)
• First Provisional IRA ceasefire (1994)
• Loyalist ceasefire (1994)
• Docklands bombing (1996)
• 1996 Manchester bombing (1996)
• Second Provisional IRA ceasefire (1997)
• Good Friday Agreement (1998) signals the end of the Troubles
• Assembly elections held, with SDLP and UUP winning most seats (1998)
• Omagh bombing by dissident Real IRA (1998)
• Unionist parties:
• Democratic Unionist Party
• Northern Ireland Unionist Party
• Ulster Unionist Party
• Progressive Unionist Party
• Conservative Party
• UK Unionist Party
• Traditional Unionist Voice
• Nationalist parties:
• Democratic Left
• Fianna Fáil
• Fine Gael
• Labour Party
• Progressive Democrats
• Sinn Féin
• Social Democratic & Labour Party
• Workers' Party of Ireland
• Irish Republican Socialist Party
• Republican Sinn Féin
• Cross-community parties:
• Alliance Party
• Historically important parties:
• Nationalist Party
• Northern Ireland Labour Party
• Protestant Unionist Party
• Vanguard Unionist Progressive Party
• Northern Ireland Women's Coalition
• People's Democracy
• Republican Labour Party
• Anti H-Block
• Irish Independence Party
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